User Experience Testing: The 12 Best Methods
The goal of user experience testing is customer success. And back in the 90s, while the rest of us were wearing dungarees and listening to TLC, Steve Jobs was busy considering Apple’s vision for customer success.
At the 1997 Worldwide Developers Conference, he said:
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology … I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room … As we have tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with ‘What incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer?’ … I think that’s the right path to take.”
It’s this dedicated focus on the end user that has led to the success of giants like Apple. But the trouble is figuring out exactly how you can put customers first.
How do you create “incredible benefits” that solve their problems and fulfil their desires? And how do you provide the best product or service possible?
That’s where user experience testing comes in.
What Is User Experience Testing?
User experience testing provides deep insights into how users interact with your product, service, or website. It’s the process of monitoring and analysing data from real users in order to improve overall user experience (UX).
Methods include monitoring users in real-time, getting customer feedback, and having users carry out tasks to uncover any errors or areas with room for improvement.
And, of course, this can have numerous benefits. Here are three ways user experience testing can help your business.
Make Customers Happy
Almost half of consumers say that brands do not meet their expectations. Two-thirds cannot recall when a brand exceeded their expectations.
But through user experience testing you have the opportunity to learn about customer behaviours and expectations so you can not only meet, but surpass, those expectations and thereby create a loyal customer base.
What’s more, this allows you to get an edge over your competitors who are failing to meet the expectations of their users.
Save Time and Money
UX testing has serious financial benefits.
At Teston, we advise companies to test as soon as they have an idea or at any stage of the development process. If you get feedback in the early stages of development, it not only helps you create a better product or service for your customers, it also saves time and money.
You can find and solve usability problems early on that would be expensive to fix down the line.
Enhance the Decision-Making Process
One aspect of user experience testing is usability. Don’t underestimate the importance of usability testing — 75% of people base a company’s credibility on how their website looks, feels, and responds.
You can try user research to make your website or service easier to use. This helps customers come to a purchase decision quickly and easily, which will naturally have a positive effect on your profits.
All in all, user experience testing serves both your customers and your business.
User Experience Testing: 12 Key Methods
In user experience testing, different tests will help you discover different aspects of the user experience. It’s vital you gain an understanding of user experience testing methods, along with their upsides and downsides, to work out which make the most sense for your business.
1. Moderated User Testing
In this method, the user carries out a series of tasks related to your product, site, or service, while being observed by a moderator.
One advantage of moderated user testing is that the moderator can ask questions and get feedback from the user in real-time.
However, this method is costly and time-consuming.
2. Unmoderated User Testing
Unmoderated user testing is when users complete a set of tasks in a remote setting. For example, Teston’s user panels are able to take tests from their Mac or PC at home.
Remote user testing is cost-effective and gives you the ability to collect data at scale. It also reduces the chances of you biasing the test.
Yet, as you have less control during the test, you must ensure you choose suitable testers. Fortunately, there are ways to do this. For instance, Teston allows you to choose segment filters to apply to your user tests. Segment filters ensure the users you test with match your target demographic.
Overall, as long as you’re able to find testers who represent your target audience, unmoderated user testing is the optimal method. The levels of efficiency and the sheer capacity for valuable insights are undeniable.
3. User Groups
In this method, you interview a group of target customers about their opinions and experience with your product or service. This is useful as you may encounter a range of differing reactions and opinions in one session.
The downside is that you acquire limited information about user behaviours, i.e. what they do with your product or how they react to your brand in real life.
In-person and online surveys help you gather data and responses from a large number of users.
The good thing is that there are many types of customer satisfaction survey that serve different purposes, from NPS surveys to post-purchase surveys. The difficulty is incentivising users to get involved.
5. Five Second Tests
Five Second Tests are more of a unique and specific type of user experience test. You show your design (a web page, brochure, logo, etc.) to users for five seconds and get them to list things they remember.
It’s a good way to gauge first impressions and measure whether people’s perceptions match what you were going for. The downside is that there isn’t much depth to the test.
6. Voice of the Customer
This technique uses qualitative and quantitative research to discover users' wants and needs.
You can gather data from a range of sources, such as on-site surveys, customer feedback polls, reviews, and so on.
The advantage of this method is having hard evidence for your user experience insights. But you need Sheldon Cooper-level smarts to understand and analyse the data.
7. Card Sorting
In these tests, users sort topics into what they feel are the right categories to help you establish your website architecture, i.e. what goes in which section of the menu.
This will help make your website easy to navigate and use. Yet, how much this benefits you depends on how consistent your results are.
8. Tree Testing
Users are given a hypothetical need and must navigate categories and subcategories to fulfill that need. For example, an ecommerce store might ask users to find a certain type of product.
Similar to card sorting, it helps you establish whether your website is well-organised.
9. Eye Tracking
This is a biometric test to see where users focus their attention on your website — how long they look at an element for, the order in which they view elements, etc.
Eye tracking can be useful for conversion rate optimisation and web development. It also shows the objective, authentic response of the user. However, this kind of testing is advanced and not easily accessible.
10. A/B Testing
A/B testing measures user responses to two variables so you can establish which is more effective. For example, you could test two sets of copy to see which gets more conversions.
You can use it to make improvements to key aspects of your site and increase conversions. But A/B testing can be hit or miss.
It may take a long time to acquire data if you run a small business or a low-traffic website. And the changes you make may only be minimal.
11. Heat Maps
These are visual representations of how users interact with your website in terms of clicks, mouse movement, and scrolling.
Heat maps help you gain insight into which areas of your site are already getting attention and which need extra work. The downside is that they can be difficult to interpret.
This is when you view a recording of the user journey across your website, landing page, app, or other digital space.
At Teston, we help brands come up with questions and tasks to implement during recordings. One major benefit of this type of user experience test is that it incorporates advanced technology, such as options for test customisation and audience segmentation.
Recordings also allow you to get authentic feedback from real users who aren’t worried about a moderator looking over their shoulders.
When choosing one or a combination of these methods, it’s important to consider your target audience and objectives carefully. This is the first step of the Teston process.
Weigh up the pros and cons, and decide which will help you gather the most information to implement effective change within your business.
Gain Insights Through User Experience Testing
User experience is everything nowadays. You need a solid understanding of the needs, behaviors, and pain points of your customers.
It’s not just about customer service. UX testing should influence all areas of your business — from the design process to product development to conversion rate optimisation and more.
Now that you have an understanding of the best methods, you can gain insights that benefit your customers and your brand.